The road to Bitrise: an interview with VP of Growth, Rik Haandrikman

The VP of Growth at Bitrise shares his journey to Bitrise, his defining career moments and what he would do for a career if he wasn't doing this.

We are talented, we are discoverers, and nothing is impossible at Bitrise! Meet Rik, VP of Growth from the Netherlands. Read about his journey to Bitrise, what it is possible to achieve at Bitrise and beyond, and his most-defining career moments.

Why did you choose to work at Bitrise?

I’ve spent roughly half my career so far in gaming, with a chunk of that in mobile. Having seen the challenges of mobile development up close, the fact that we can offer teams a very real, very effective way of tackling those challenges is amazing. It’s turned my job from making people want things, into making things people want.

Besides that, the Y Combinator badge certainly helped, combined with an incredibly welcoming and supportive team from day 1. 🚀

What’s your role at Bitrise? How does your role contribute to your wider career journey and provide opportunities for the future?

As VP of Growth, I do whatever it takes to make the company grow. In the early stages, that meant building a team that was filling a lot of random organizational holes necessary to generate sustainable growth. Now — a few years in — it’s building a department that doesn’t just attract new users and customers, but turns them into fans.

As for opportunities, it’s similar to any position in a scaling company at this stage: there’s so much continuous learning, change, and chance for impact that a year of scaling experience is analogous to five years of ‘regular’ work. This is the type of environment in which I started — and fast tracked — my career close to two decades ago, and it’s still constantly driving me forward. Plus, I get to see others capture that same opportunity and can do my part to support their growth.

What was the lesson that you learned along the way, that you wish you had known right from the start?

Earlier in my career my focus on growth above all combined with a fair dose of arrogance, meant that I’d rush ahead and do things myself if folks didn’t immediately understand what I was trying to achieve or how they could contribute. I’ve hopefully learned to be more patient, and have more appreciation for the compounding effects of ‘taking people along’, ensuring I take into account multiple perspectives, and trusting on the contributions of others. Looking back, learning that lesson sooner would’ve made me much more effective in some of the places I worked before.

Do you have any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Risers?

Get some hands-on experience in a startup. Regardless of joining Bitrise or not, you’ll quickly discover if it’s the type of environment for you, and if it is the right fit, you’ll learn a lot in any scaling company. It’s — by far — the fastest way of accelerating your career, if you can keep up with its pace.

​​What kind of skills do you need to have to work effectively at Bitrise?

Adaptability, drive and boundless curiosity, above all.

Adaptability, because the changing scale and environment in which we operate means your job will be different from one year or even quarter to the next.

Drive, because we have a head-start in a competitive space, and we’ll need to continue to outperform ourselves to hit our goals.

Boundless curiosity, because we’re supporting some of the world’s most sophisticated mobile development teams, and need to very deeply understand their world to help them constantly improve.

What’s your favorite method of learning?

I’ve always been a reader, to the point where the local library where I grew up put a rule in place to only let me check out books once a week. I’d use my library card, my sister’s and my mom’s to check out 15 at a time to compensate. 📚

Today, I still read a lot, but by virtue of the job I’ve also adopted a more experimental approach to learning where I’ll just ”go “f*ck it, let’s give it a go and take notes”

Want to work with Rik in a fast scaling Growth team and accelerate your career? Check out our current job openings here!

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